School of Social Work Professor Priscilla Gibson’s research into African American grandmothers as caregivers has been turned into a play that will be performed Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, at the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Center.
The play, titled Saplings, deals with the role of stress, health and education in the lives of African American youth. The first part of the play is based on Gibson’s research about African American grandmother caregivers and how they are affected when the grandchildren they are raising are suspended from school. The second part features the experiences of parents of African American children and is based on the research of Sonya S. Brady, associate professor in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, into factors that affect the well-being and future success of African American youth.
University faculty, students and teaching artists used Gibson and Brady’s research findings to craft the “scripted facilitation” play which raises issues about race, school suspensions, and relationships between families and school staff. Organizers hope that Friday’s performance will be viewed by many social work and education students and professionals who will participate in a discussion afterward. The goal of the discussion is to generate respectful dialogue about school discipline policies and to create opportunities to bridge the gaps between institutions of learning and the communities that they serve.
The play and discussion are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Nolte Experimental Theatre in Rarig. Parking vouchers will be offered and food and refreshments will be provided after the performance. Audience members who participate in the discussions after the performance will receive a $25 gift card. Please RSVP here.
Other organizations involved in the project are the African American Resource Center in collaboration with the University’s Institute for Advanced Study and the Imagine Fund.